The 40-Year-Old Virgin
See review this issue. Regal Cinemas, etc.
Paolo and Vittorio Taviani's "tragicomic epic" about a man (Marcello Mastroianni) caught up in his revolutionary past. Guild
See review this issue. Fox Tower 10
Most people are calling Baise-Moi a feminist milestone. After all, it's a movie in which women are finally allowed to go apeshit onscreen! They're fucking, then murdering! Wahoo! However, I think this movie's message is very far from "pro-woman." In fact, I was surprised the film wasn't written by a man. Even with the supposed female-empowerment undertones, the whole thing seems like a stereotypical male fantasy—two hot chicks with guns—and falls into the tired trap of women finding empowerment by assuming stereotypically male characteristics. At the same time, the premise that men have the power to drive women batty enough to kill is rooted in dramatic, 1950s pulp. Though the graphic nature of Baise-Moi is a product of this age, it nevertheless plays into 50-year-old philosophies. (Julianne Shepherd) PSU Smith Memorial Student Union
Beauty and the Beast
A restored version of Jean Cocteau's 1946 classic. Cinema 21
Bill and Coo
The NWFC boasts that this film is "An all bird film set to music with a cast of parakeets, a parrot, and a bad black crow, the little creatures enact a love story set in Chirpendale." The fuck? Mallory Hotel
Bill Murray plays Don Johnston ("No," he says, often and resignedly. "Johnston. With a 'T.'"), a lonely, lazy, and rich man who receives an anonymous letter. Claiming to be from an old flame, it informs him he has a son he never knew of. The bewildered Johnston shows the letter to his mystery-obsessed neighbor (an excellent Jeffrey Wright), who convinces Johnston to go on a cross-country trip to discover who sent the letter. Along the way, Murray's biggest talent—simultaneously seeming like a total schlub and the coolest guy ever—meshes perfectly with writer/director Jim Jarmusch's meditative style. By the film's end, Johnston's quest is secondary, pushed aside by the audience's simple act of knowing the utterly believable and sympathetic Johnston so disarmingly well. (Erik Henriksen) Regal Cinemas, etc.
Bullets of Love
An awesomely-titled film about a cop (Leon Lai Ming) and a prosecutor (Asako Seto) whose past catches up with them. Part of the NWFC's Hong Kong Horizons series. Whitsell Auditorium
The Calamari Wrestler
The Calamari Wrestler (Osamu Nishimura) is a giant, rubbery squid who wants to be a pro wrestler. His love interest, Miyako, has concerns ("I can't love a squid! How will he support me?"), but they're nothing compared to the prejudice of Japan's pro wrestlers. And so it goes: The Calamari Wrestler goes grocery shopping (sardines). He prepares for his matches (meditation and NordicTrack). And he searches for himself in a country that wants to squash his individuality. In other words, this is a movie about a giant wrestling squid, and it's awesome. (Erik Henriksen) Clinton Street Theater
Loudly touting itself as the most brutal movie of all time, Chaos is a grindhouse exploitation movie (and essentially a remake of The Last House on the Left) about two teenage girls who get lured into the woods by a ragtag group of criminally insane fugitives who rape, torture, and kill them (though not necessarily in that order). While it is in no way the most brutal movie of all time, Chaos is a little piece of awful. But what's far more disturbing is onlyamovie.com/director.html, which shows a photo of tool /director, David Defalco, a goth body builder who wears ice blue contact lenses. Among his many whack-a-doodle-dee quotes: "If just one girl sees this movie and learns not to make the mistakes that so many of these victims make, then this was a very important movie." What a crock of shit. The thinly patched together "cautionary tale" here is not directed at teenage girls—it's for post-pubescent men who are fascinated by hearing and seeing teenage girls scream horribly as they are mutilated and raped. And if that's your bag, then just fucking admit it—cause those are the only competently executed scenes in the movie anyway. (Marjorie Skinner) Clinton Street Theater
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
In terms of sheer spectacle, Tim Burton's never been stronger and the film never drags, though it never quite thrills either. Johnny Depp's androgynous, purple-gloved fop of a Wonka is just too discomforting to completely embrace as a main character, and the narrative never builds to any satisfying resolution. On the upside, though, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory does inflict unapologetic, cruel punishment on four very obnoxious children. (Justin Sanders) Regal Cinemas, etc.
Cop on a Mission
An undercover cop (Daniel Wu) discovers that—who'd a thunk?—it's way cooler to be a badass Triad boss than an underpaid police officer. Hatching a powerplay against both of his bosses (his earnest old man police boss, and his dangerous Triad one), he quickly has his hands full with double-crosses, intrigue, and the sweet ass of the Triad boss' wife. It all sounds cool, but it's not until the last half hour that anything interesting happens—and by then, the script gets so desperate to wrap things up that it starts throwing ridiculous coincidences and stupid actions into the mix. It sucks, 'cause this movie could've been pretty cool, but it ends up being only marginally entertaining. (Erik Henriksen) Whitsell Auditorium
Death Race 2000
Sylvester Stallone and David Carradine star in this film about racers who run down people as they drive across the country! Mallory Hotel
Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo
During the screening of Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo (please don't make me explain the plot, because it's so fucking stupid), I had the great pleasure (that's sarcasm) of sitting in front of a woman who evidently hadn't taken a shower in like three weeks. She had a ripe, sour smell that I can only classify as "dirty pussy," a stench that wafted up my nostrils for the entirety of the film and made every lame dick, spooge, fart, poop, and pee joke all the funnier (sarcasm again). It seemed fitting, though, that while my eyes and ears were subjected to the pure torture that is Deuce Bigalow, my olfactory sense should also be disturbed by something equally foul, disgusting, and unnecessary. (Katie Shimer) Regal Cinemas, etc.
The Dukes of Hazzard
I'd be a liar if I said The Dukes of Hazzard isn't a horrible movie. It takes the late-'70s/early-'80s TV show—in which cousins Bo and Luke Duke drove around in their '69 Dodge Charger, the General Lee, taunting cops and tearin' ass around Hazzard County, Georgia—and creates a thoroughly mixed modern version, with a first half filled with less-than-funny jokes (courtesy of the less-than-funny guys of the Broken Lizard comedy troupe, who're also culpable for Super Troopers and Club Dread). But then ZZ Top and AC/DC hit the soundtrack, the General starts really drivin' (the driving sequences rule), Johnny Knoxville and Seann William Scott start being funny, and Willie Nelson, as Uncle Jesse, starts killing cops (seriously). In other words, it gets pretty awesome. (Erik Henriksen) Regal Cinemas, etc.
The Flaming Lips: VOID
See My, What a Busy Week! on pg. 19. Crystal Ballroom
Loosely retrofitting the old John Wayne oater The Sons of Katie Elder to modern-day Detroit, director John Singleton's Four Brothers follows a quartet of ne'er-do-wells (led by a pumped, inked, and pomaded within an inch of his life Mark Wahlberg) who stomp back to their old neighborhood after their adoptive mother meets an untimely end. If, as the occasional brief moment suggests, this is all a straight-faced parody of such trash classics as Slaughter's Big Rip-Off and Truck Turner, Singleton may have bigger talents than anyone has ever suspected. If he's serious, however, lord help us. (Andrew Wright) Regal Cinemas, etc.
The Gods Must Be Crazy
A Coke bottle hits a guy in the head, so he figures it's from god. Fair enough. Fifth Avenue Cinemas
The Great Raid
There are few genres with as much inherent coolness as war movies. Unfortunately for The Great Raid, director John Dahl takes a really cool true story—the freeing of U.S. soldiers from a Japanese prison camp in the Philippines—and makes it totally boring, despite the best/futile efforts of underrated actors Benjamin Bratt and James Franco. Everything proceeds as if driven by requisite plot beats instead of actual events, and by the time the (admittedly pretty cool) raid comes about, the audience has been lulled into a stupor. (Erik Henriksen) Century 16 Cedar Hills Crossing, Century Eastport 16, Lloyd Mall, City Center 12, Pioneer Place Stadium 6, Movies on TV
See review this issue. Fox Tower 10
Howl's Moving Castle
The latest from genius Japanese anime filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki. A young girl, Sophie, is transformed into a hunched, wrinkled old woman—confused and frightened, she hobbles out to the misty countryside hoping to find Howl, an enigmatic young wizard who might be able to help her. To proselytize: Go see it, right now. To use what sounds like hyperbole, but isn't: It's amazing. (Erik Henriksen) Fox Tower 10
Hustle & Flow
Hustle & Flow tells the story of DJay, a pimp in the throes of a midlife crisis. Realizing that pimping isn't all it's cracked up to be—there's a lot more carpooling involved than you might think—he decides to launch a career as a rapper. Despite a tremendous performance by Terrence Dashon Howard as DJay, Hustle & Flow is ultimately a transparent, casually misogynistic attempt to capitalize on middle class white Americans' fascination with the hiphop world. By way of some snappy camera angles and a few strategically allocated hearts of gold, writer/director Craig Brewer has created a glossy, simplistic actualization of a cliché that white people are all too eager too embrace. (Alison Hallett) Hollywood Theatre
I've been frightened of Michael Bay's The Island all summer, knowing I'd get lured in by its sci-fi premise (Clones! Explosions! Scarlett Johansson!), and also knowing that it'd probably just make me bored, angry, and filled with even more distaste for Bay, one of the biggest hacks of all time. But here's the thing: The Island is totally fucking rad. No, seriously! After a cleverer-than-expected sci-fi setup, Ewan McGregor and Johansson start running and things start exploding, and even though the script's hardly brilliant, plot holes gape ever wider, and clichés grow increasingly shameless (and Bay's still a hack), The Island maintains a slick, fun, and (somewhat) intelligent tone. But it mostly doesn't want to be anything more than a big, kickass summer action flick—which it is, and marvelously. (Erik Henriksen) Laurelhurst, Avalon
No, this isn't a shorter version of The Island. Instead, it's yet another selection from PSU's "John Kerry's Mostly French Progressive Summer Film Fest"! PSU Smith Memorial Student Union
See review this issue. Fox Tower 10
Kung Fu Hustle
The latest from Hong Kong's superstar director and star Stephen Chow, Kung Fu Hustle is all over the map: It's part slapstick, part hokey drama, part action extravaganza, and part cartoon—and Chow blends all of these seemingly disparate parts to make a nearly perfect comedy. (Erik Henriksen) Laurelhurst
Gus Van Sant's molasses-paced film based on one of the last remaining mysteries of the Kurt Cobain fable. Officially only "inspired" by the events of Cobain's death, Van Sant does little to specifically alter the known facts of the story—the setting is slightly altered, "Kurt" becomes "Blake." Van Sant's shallow "inspired by" qualifier is, then, either a thinly veiled sidestep around the notoriously litigious arm of Courtney Love, or just a means to indulge the director's creative license. Whichever the case, the responsibility Van Sant dodges from the onset in Last Days is but the first of several shots fired squarely at his film's foot. (Zac Pennington) Mission Theater
The Last Metro
François Truffaut's film about a woman (Catherine Deneuve) who has to keep her Jewish husband (Heinz Bennent) hidden from the Nazis as she puts on a play. (Springtime For Hitler, perhaps?) PSU Smith Memorial Student Union
March of the Penguins
If there's one lesson to be learned from March of the Penguins, it's that the adorableness of penguins is underrated. Penguins are cuter than kittens, definitely cuter than baby people, and possibly as cute as those little harp seal things that're always getting eaten by polar bears. Penguins follows these bundles of cuteness as they trek for days across Antarctica in search of a safe place to hatch their even-more-adorable babies. Unfortunately, the filmmakers enlist Morgan Freeman as narrator, and force him to talk about the penguins' "Journey of Love" and to intone insipid phrases like, "They're not so different than we are, really." (Alison Hallett) Regal Cinemas, etc.
Metropolis is a beautiful and stylish hybrid—one of those future worlds imagined from the distant past, where above ground looks like an Ayn Rand dream, below ground is pure Blade Runner, and the characters are retro in the style of Hergé's Tintin. The malicious (but helpless) President Boon presides over Metropolis, and the true power lies with the Roarkian Duke Red, builder of the Ziggurat and the muscle behind Tima, a gorgeous android (looking uncannily like Haley Joel Osment) who will someday rule the world. What makes Metropolis—which has a production pedigree that includes much of anime's royalty—feel like something truly new is the animation (combining the most up-to-date CGI with old-fashioned cels and the occasional live-action background), the mood (speakeasy 1920s, complete with Dixieland Jazz and gumshoe detectives), and its refusal to divide the world into absolute good and evil. Mostly, yes, it's eye candy, but everyone's eyes should be so lucky. (Emily Hall ) Cinema 21
Monday Night Gig
The creative familial forces behind the local film Monday Night Gig, Tyson and Ian Smith, have a fancy website (mondaynightgig.com) to promote their full-length project, as well as t-shirts, buttons, posters, postcards, and media savvy to spare. The lighting for the movie appears to be pretty professional, and somebody knew their Adobe After Effects, because there's some lovely colorwork involving sunsets and other ambient settings. Everything essential to a good filmmaking process and distribution is in place, and the Smith Bros' enthusiasm and devotion is commendable. Unfortunately, I can't recommend what they've actually created. The story of a hard-luck rock band's relentless efforts to "make it," Gig is packed with comedic cliches, brutal dialogue, choppy editing, and stereotypical characters. There's the over-enthusiastic frontman (Neil Kopplin), his nerdy, not-so-enthusiastic guitarist sidekick (Seneca Relich), and the tough, anarchist chick drummer (Ina Strauss, the only real talent of the bunch). Some scenes are confusing, particularly the different montages with drivin' rock music on the soundtrack, while others are almost asinine in their penchant for low, easy humor. This is a movie that was made for the sake of making a movie, as opposed to one that rushed forth in a torrent of inspiration too strong to reign in. (Justin Sanders) Hollywood Theatre
Screened at Sundance—and gathering steam ever since—Murderball documents the unlikely sport of "quad rugby," or, as it was formerly called, "murderball." Played on basketball courts in wheelchairs equipped with bumpers and steel hubcaps, the game is like a wicked cross between chariot racing and arena football—fast -moving and exciting. But most importantly, the men who play the game are rough-and-tough desperados, men who have overcome extreme neck-breaking, life-changing accidents. But Murderball is hardly an after-school Special Olympics movie—instead, it's a brash, mature, in-your-face extreme sport profile that travels into a captivating subculture. (Phil Busse) Fox Tower 10
My Date with Drew
A low-budget, true-story indie flick about a guy who gives himself 30 days to score a date with Drew Barrymore. It wasn't screened for critics, which is probably a good thing, as I probably would have just gotten really mad at this guy, whoever he is, because he probably has a better shot of going out with Ms. Barrymore than I do. Because that's bullshit. Because if anybody should be able to go out with Drew, it shouldn't be that guy, or Tom Green, or that kid from the Strokes. Because it should be me. (Erik Henriksen) Lloyd Mall, City Center 12, Westgate
See review this issue. Regal Cinemas, etc.
Paolo and Vittorio Taviani's film about a man who answers a jury summons for a murder case—and discovers that victim was an old acquaintance. Guild
This is what you get when a very Catholic country makes your pornography. Full of dry, generic French introspection about the nature of sex, Romance skips straight from nudity to guilt, forgetting all about pleasure. Though often boring, Romance is never sexy, and there's not even very much sex, all told. (Andy Spletzer) PSU Smith Memorial Student Union
Running on Karma
An ex-monk with vast martial arts powers (Andy Lau) teams up with a young female cop. (In a giant foam muscle-suit, he's like Spidey plus the Hulk.) She is killed, gruesomely, and he finds inner peace and his destiny after pursuing her killer. A strange hybrid of superhero flick and desperate mess. (Mike Whybark) Whitsell Auditorium
Through precocious and circuitous logic, Catholic school ninth grader Ralph (Adam Butcher) is convinced that if he miraculously wins the Boston Marathon, his ailing mother will wake up from her coma. Though the film does its best to pluck out your bleeding heart, the bulk of it is a light, endearing comedy about the ultimate underdog and the power of stubborn perseverance. Exceedingly likeable, Ralph is a young cad who struggles with chronic masturbation, bad grades, and the other trappings of lovable, unruly, wiry little fellows like himself. A bit of a dork at school, his sincere efforts to woo a girl who wants to be a nun, and his attempts to wake his mother with strong scents (like dog shit) are endlessly charming, if a bit of a sucker punch. (Marjorie Skinner) Broadway Metroplex
In what's supposedly the last film of his career, director Ingmar Bergman reunites the central characters of his earlier work, 1973's Scenes From a Marriage. But without a pre-existing "He can do no wrong" attitude toward Bergman—and his heavy dramatic tone—Saraband is dull, replete with loftily cultured assholes bearing grudges through their unhappy lives. This type of film requires a certain amount of masochism—its ruminations are sour and sad and are delivered in a tone that seems to be the effect of self-imposed, privileged isolation. Regardless, truths are here—though they're delivered hideously. (Marjorie Skinner) Hollywood Theatre
The Skeleton Key
The Skeleton Key is clearly a tribute to awesome psychological/mystical thrillers such as The Omen, Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte, and Rosemary's Baby—but why should I give a crap? If I wanted to see a great example of this genre, I'd just stay home and watch The Omen, Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte, or Rosemary's Baby. The reasons these films worked is because they exploited the fears of the times in which they were made—and all The Skeleton Key exploits is my wallet. (Wm. Steven Humphrey) Regal Cinemas, etc.
Small City, Big Hiphop
An all-ages documentary about hiphop in Portland, which also "explores social issues, a generation gap, and some of this city's dirtiest realities." The film's participants and director will answer questions following the film. And if you say "KBMS Radio" at the door, you'll get in for free. Hollywood Theatre
Spend an Evening with Saddle Creek
A DVD doc about the Saddle Creek record label, featuring Bright Eyes, the Taint, and more. Presented by Jackpot Records. Hollywood Theatre
What do you get when you combine Knight Rider, Top Gun, and The Fast and the Furious? Give up? Okay, me too. But that unseemly conglomerate of recycled flotsam is exactly the formula I imagine Sony Pictures used to conjure up Stealth. When the Navy greenlights a new jet—one imbued with artificial intelligence—lightning hits the robo-plane, it goes rogue, and globe-threatening chaos ensues. Oh, and the jet speaks, in a milquetoast-y voice. (Lance Chess) Century Eastport 16, Wilsonville, Movies on TV, Westgate
Supercross: The Movie
From IMDB.com: "Faced with the suspicious death of their father, two brothers must motivate one another to get back on their bikes and take the Las Vegas Motocross Championships by storm." Shockingly, this film wasn't screened for critics; watch for our film short next week. Regal Cinemas, etc.
See review this issue. Hollywood Theatre
It's 1944, and Valiant is a young British pigeon who's certainly not fast or strong enough to benefit Great Britain's Royal Homing Pigeon Service in the midst of World War II. Blinded by the service's promise of friendship, adoration, and curvy, sexy doves for nurses, the little birdie nonetheless decides that the life of a war hero is the life for him. So he packs his bags, calms his worrying mother by saying "Mum, there's a war going on and I want to do my bit," and lies his way into boot camp, where four more equally inept birds join him. During their training, the clumsy and feathered idiots run into one another midair, fail to complete even a single push-up, and hardly have the stamina to outrun the enemy Falcon Brigade while trying to cross the English Channel. But the RHPS is in dire need of fresh blood—all of their best fliers continue to be picked off one by one—and after losing Squadron F somewhere over Belgium, it makes a desperate move to send Valiant and his gang into France regardless of the fact that their training is incomplete and they're still embarrassingly underqualified for the job. I mean, what have they got to lose, right? Just their lives? Anyways, Valiant breaks down into a simple story about a bird war hero. It makes war look sorta uncomfortable (they show some cartoon bullets), but at the same time it's oh-so-cute and manageable, with happy endings all around. Really, it's a half-assed army recruitment tool disguised as an adorable animated Disney flick, and for that I tremble in fear for our nation's youth. (Megan Seling) Regal Cinemas, etc.
Visions of Utopia: Experiments in Sustainable Culture
Let's look at this film's title: It contains the words "vision," "utopia," "experiments," "sustainable," and "culture." In other words, there's about a 100 percent chance that this film is by hippies, for hippies—and that chance goes up about another 20 percent when you see that the screening's at the Ecotrust Conference Center. Ecotrust